Thursday, September 28, 2017

New Dream Groups Beginning October

There will be two online (Zoom videoconferenced) dream groups starting in mid-October, one on Friday morning and another on Monday evening. We will have a post or two in each group, so if  you're interested, please email me at gscotspar@gmail.com. For a description of my online DreamStar groups, please see http://dreamanalysistraining.com/page2/styled-10/page3.html. I hope you will consider joining us!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Galantamine Study Results Soon to be Published

I have been working with my colleagues Ryan Hurd (John F. Kennedy University and founder of www.dreamstudies.org and Dr. Ralph Carlson (my stats guru at UTRGV) on writing up the results of our study testing the impact of combining meditation and dream reliving (M/DR) with the ingestion of galantamine. 73 people volunteered for the ambitious eight-night study that involved getting up around 3 am and spending 40 minutes doing a variety of activities. While it would take too long to summarize the entire data, suffice to say that the integrated protocol (M/DR+galantamine) performed better overall than galantamine alone, but wasn't significantly better than galantamine alone. The two galantamine conditions (with and without meditation and dream reliving) blew away the baseline and placebo conditions on six measures--lucidity, reflectiveness (regardless of lucidity), interaction, role/status changes, constructive action, and the presence of fear/threat--showing us just how effective galantamine is.  M/DR+G was especially high on reflectiveness and fear/threat.

What was surprising is that fear/threat in dreams was higher, not lower, in the galantamine conditions. In our earlier study, based entirely on participants' recollection of their prior use of galantamine, they recalled that their dreams were lower, not higher on the presence of fear, threat and violence (we measured them separately in that study).

Our thinking is that using galantamine has a global positive impact, but that the actual content of dreams, when assessed immediately afterward, shows more fear/threat. The M/DR+G condition showed the greatest elevation of fear/threat, which makes sense in that dream reliving involves reliving a nightmare in fantasy as if one is lucid, and seeing it unfold in a more positive way. By itself, M/DR should increase nightmare content, but in a way that facilitates resolution. So the quantitive measures don't tell us the whole story, by any means. We will need to look at the specific phenomenology of the dreams to see if, indeed, the dreamers are working through the outwardly distressing dream content.

You might not know it, but all of the effective cognitive interventions for trauma resolution involve re-exposure to the original trauma or nightmare, and the reprocessing of the memory so that the level of distress is reduced. Our hope is that M/DR+G may create an optimal dream state for the re-engagement and resolution of unfinished business in general, and trauma in particular. It's an exciting research agenda, and I will be updating you as we find out more.

Visit to Another Star System?

I haven't posted in a while, but I have been continuing my personal exploration of lucid dreaming/out of body experiences. I have had to start recording them on my recorder, since some of them are too long to writ out  Here's one that was particularly memorable and in the spirit of the last posting:

I meditate and return to bed, and begin to hear the gift waves after a while. I roll out, and move up into the darkness. It takes quite a while before I see anything, but a dome of stars appears. Below me I can see a valley and lights, but the scenery is still fairly dark. Suddenly I emerge into an outdoor scene where people are singing a rousing, primitive-sounding song. It’s still fairly hard as I walk through the crowd. A man comes up to me, takes my hands to greet me, and then rubs them, saying, ‘You must be cold from your travel.’

I leave there, and fly upward into the darkness again, this time emerging in another outdoor scene, more brightly lit. People are everywhere, going about their lives. I see stores, and greenery and the scene seems quite peaceful. But I don’t feel that I’ve arrived at where I need to be. So I fly upward again, passing into darkness until I emerge in a beautiful, brightly lit world, which I understand to be another planet in another star system. A young man greets me and gives me a tour of various displays that depicts aspects of his world. Finally, I ask him if anyone has been able to solve the problem of interstellar travel, by working around the limit imposed by Einstein’s theory of relativity. He said that a race of people—the Talens—had solved the problem. He began to describe the solution mathematically, but I laughed and told him that his efforts would be futile. 


Then I asked him if he knew of earth. He paused and look thoughtful. Then he said, “Yes, but it’s very far away.” He went on the add, “Someone should be going there before long.”

  I've just launched a new podcast, titled DreamStar Institute Presents "Dreamwork with Dr. Scott Sparrow." My first episode i...